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Web Smarts

WHAT: The site of the National Gallery of Art in Washington lets viewers tour much of the museum's collection, presenting high-quality images of its art as well as information about various artists and artistic movements.

BEST POINTS: If there's a particular painting you're looking for, you can search the site by typing in the artist's last name. Once there, you can enlarge the picture, or focus in on specific details. Check out the some of the details up-close on Edward Hicks's "Peaceable Kingdom" (see story, below).

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Alternatively, if you want to learn more about a certain period of art, you can take one of the museum's many "tours," which will lead you through a series of works chosen to illustrate specific concepts, while providing commentary about them. There are tours on all different periods - under the heading of American art, for example, there are nine separate tours. The site also offers some wonderful in-depth studies of a few select paintings. The analysis of Vermeer's "Woman Holding a Balance" traces out the lines of perspective, and analyzes different symbols within the composition.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The site also offers resources for teachers, including suggested classroom activities and bibliographies for further information. There are even entire lesson plans given on certain artists, such as Matisse and Manet. All the services on the site are free of charge, as is the museum itself.

(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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